Japan, Pt. III - Tea

We had tea ceremony at Obachan's house.  Obachan is like saying 'Auntie.'  She is the leader of the tea ceremony study group, which has been meeting for many years.  The tea ceremony is an art and a way of being, and I was very excited to experience it.

Obachan looking at the chopsticks.  There were hydrangea mochis in the lacquer boxes.  That is my knee at the bottom of the picture.  A sand pit about a foot deep was recessed into the tatami mats and a charcoal fire burned inside, heating water for tea.

Mixing the first tea.

Drinking the tea.  The first cup of tea is thick like porridge and since I was the guest of honor I went first.  They told me it would be intense.  It tasted strongly but wasn't bitter.  It was no problem but I had three more cups of tea to go.

"You can sit in the chair so you don't have to kneel on the mat."  They thought it was easier for a non-Japanese person to sit in a chair. "How is the chair?" she asked me.  "It's great," I said.  It was three inches off of the ground, next to a fire.  I liked Obachan.  The tea master.  92 years old.

Showing me the tea container.  It was raku ware, which is made by hand and fired at a low temperature.  This one was old, from the 19th century.  At the tea ceremony everything gets passed around for appreciation and the tea canister is no exception.

Yoko looking at the bag that the tea container is stored in.  The lady in the background has a great kimono colorway.

They passed around snacks.  Some fish made of agar-agar and leaf-shaped  biscuits.

Mixing more tea.  Maniya-san was laughing about how they were tea ceremony veterans.

Drinking tea.

That is my sock.

When the ceremony was over, Obachan asked Nami to make us some tea.  Nami was a member of this tea group when she lived in Japan.  The leaves on the table are the same as the tea biscuits in the ceremony.  She made good tea.

Sumie-san, center, is next in line to be the tea master.

The tea ceremony room is a room-inside-of-a-room that they built in the apartment when they moved in thirty years ago.

1 comment

  • Cherilynn

    That saves me. Thanks for being so seinsble!

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